What is a “Sweatshield” and do I Need One on my Holster?

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When building your custom holster, you’ll select everything about it from the color and handgun model, to the cant and sweat shield. The latter two can be quite confusing, especially if this is your first Kydex holster.

Not to mention, different options work best for different styles of holsters, so while you may have a cant and a sweat shield on a Kydex holster you already own, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll want to replicate those options on your next Kydex holster. It can be tricky stuff, so that’s why we’re tackling the topic here.

This blog post is all about sweat shields – what are they, and does your holster need one?

Click here to read our blog post about cants.

What is a sweat shield?

As depicted in the photos below, the sweat shield is the long, skinny piece of Kydex that extends up along the slide of your holster. This ensures that the slide is covered by Kydex, rather than having the metal exposed.

If you opt for “no sweat shield” on your holster, the Kydex will end right around where the grip of your handgun is located.

An Ares Standard OWB holster without a sweat shield.

A Phoenix Ultimate IWB holster without a sweat shield.


An Ares Standard OWB holster with a sweat shield.

A Phoenix Ultimate IWB holster with a sweat shield.

What does it do?

Whether you opt for a sweat shield or not, your holster will essentially function the same; the sweat shield merely acts as a barrier between the metal slide of your handgun and your skin, or your clothing.

If you don’t wear an undershirt or tank top, and you opt for “no sweat shield”, this means that the metal of the slide will be in direct contact with your skin. That may not seem like a bad thing, but on a hot summer day, your slide will end up covered in sweat. Hence, the name “sweat shield.” With the Kydex acting as the barrier between skin and metal, the finish of your gun is protected better, and your skin won’t feel yucky with the metal pressed against it.

The sweat shield can also act as a guide for holstering your gun; it provides a contact point to help you more easily insert your gun into the holster, even if you’re not looking.

What do we recommend?

We always recommend going with a sweat shield when ordering an inside the waistband (IWB) holster. These are the models that you’re most likely to use for concealed carry, and as such, you’ll probably want that barrier between your skin and the slide. But, if you usually wear an undershirt or a tank top underneath your shirt, you may not need the sweat shield. It’s truly a matter of preference.

When ordering an outside the waistband (OWB) holster, we typically say that a sweat shield isn’t entirely necessary. In this case, the sweat shield’s only purpose would be to act as a guide for reholstering your gun. It doesn’t make a major difference; it just makes it a bit easier.

Final Thoughts

There is no extra charge to add a sweat shield to your holster, so if you’re not sure what option is right for you, we suggest giving it a try. If you decide you’re not entirely crazy about having a sweat shield on your holster, you can always contact us and we’ll have you ship it back to us and we’ll cut the sweat shield off. We can always remove it after the fact, but we can’t add it! 

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